October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Early detection is key.
Performing monthly breast examinations are highly recommended. Encourage your loved ones to have yearly mammograms. If in doubt, seek out medical attention! I learned from my sister who had Breast cancer at age 31. Don’t wait!
Can I perform exercise or physical activity after Breast Cancer?
The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Cancer risk factors decrease with each acute bout of exercise. The accumulation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise and/or physical activity each week is recommended. Structured exercise can also prevent other diseases such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases. Physical activity also helps with improved mood and well-being. In short, any and all activity counts for your lifelong health and wellness.
What kinds of exercise can I safely perform during medical therapy sessions?
For people who have cancer and are in the midst of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, exercise can prevent tissues and muscles from becoming stiff and weak after a lumpectomy or radical mastectomy movement is essential.
Gradually increase your activity. Listen to your body. Breathe. What’s important is to maintain your strength, endurance and flexibility plus quality of life.
Strength: Strength training can keep your muscles in good shape to do your daily work, chores, and feeling good about your body.
Endurance: Aerobic activities, such as walking or cycling, can help keep your other joints moving freely so you have more energy for your favorite hobbies or for playing with your children or grandchildren.
Flexibility: Yoga can help with flexibility, balance, and strength so that you can put on your bra, tie your shoes and go to the grocery store or shopping. Yoga can also help with pain and stress management to get through your days and nights with better sleep hygiene.
What about lymphedema after surgery?
If you have had breast cancer and surgery, some complications that may occur include lymphedema, loss of arm mobility, strength and function, depending on the extent of your surgery and stage. Early detection is important at stage 0, 1, 2 and before local spread stage 3, or metastases at stage 4.
Gentle active movement or physical activity helps reduce lymphedema (swelling of the involved arm), reduces stiffening of tissues including muscle and facia from the underlying bones and joints. You may need to seek and expert in lymphedema management.
What is Cancer-Related Fatigue?
Short bouts of exercise and a walking program integrated into your daily routine (at times when you are less fatigued) can improve conditioning. In combination, nutrition, sleep hygiene and physical activity form the triad of recovery from breast cancer.
How can I minimize Pain?
Movement can reduce pain when performed in therapeutic amounts. Soft tissue mobility and strengthening in combination with gentle stretches may be helpful to reduce your pain.
Are individual or group sessions best for me?
After a diagnosis of breast cancer, exercise sessions under the supervision of an expert physical therapist is vital for your successful return to full functioning and quality of life. Having someone to support you can be fun!
Quality of life is the ultimate goal as you return to typical activities to get your life back after breast cancer. After my sister went through breast cancer at age 31, she came back with so much energy and passion for life. She is an inspiration to me and so many others.
Contact Dr. Ann H. Newstead, PT, DPT, PhD for more information or a complementary 30-minute Discovery Consultation Visit. A Healthy Life for All Ages!
September is Fall Prevention Month!
7 things that may contribute your Dizziness and Balance
Are you living with dizziness or disequilibrium? Do you have difficulty changing positions? Have you had a previous fall? What contributes to your vertigo?
- Changes in aging systems. Your visual, sensory and vestibular systems in combination with your muscles are important for staying upright in your world. All of these systems work together to minimize your dizziness or imbalance (e.g. disequilibrium). Working on your neck motion and eye coordination and scanning can improve your vision especially for driving! Standing with eyes open feet together holding a countertop can challenge your balance! Changing positions may create dizziness or light headedness or vertigo. Or when you move from sitting to standing you may feel light headed, you may have a drop in Blood Pressure. Or vertigo when your world moves around you and you feel off balance.
- Changes in strength that effect your balance and walking. Have you been told that you cannot improve your balance or decrease your dizziness? Have you had difficulty with dizziness or balance for a few weeks, months, years? Has your walking speed decreased? You do not need to live with reduced physical functioning. You can improve your strength, flexibility, endurance, and ultimately your eye-head coordination, dizziness and balance. Research strongly suggests that people in their 40’s begin to lose strength; even people in their 90’s can improve strength. Begin an strengthening and flexibility program gradually increasing under the supervision of your physical therapist.
- Too many Medications or Polypharmacy. Do you take more than ten (10) medications? Many medications interact and the effects are cumulative that can lead to dizziness, vertigo, imbalance or disequilibrium. Medications can also contribute to fatigue or weakness. If any of these are true, you need your medications reevaluated by your PT.
- Mood changes. Has your quality of life decreased because of your dizziness? Are you basically satisfied with your life? Is your mood out of sorts because you feel you cannot go out and be with friends or family? Call a friend or family member to say hello or volunteer to help someone or a cause.
- Fear of falling. Are you fearful of falling? Fear of falling may be a common frustration. Fear of falling is most common after one or more falls. Use of a device such as a cane or walker may provide you with some more confidence. If you don’t like the idea of a cane, dress it up! Show your personality!
- Home hazards. Is your home a fall hazard? Do you have lights in each room? Do you have handrails to hold in the bath? Keeping your home safe and free from hazards is important to avoid falls. If you have dizziness and difficulty scanning your environment, you have need to declutter. If you have disequilibrium, keeping areas in hallways and in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living areas free of throw rugs to avoid trips and slips, may help you to avoid injury.
- Chronic falls – Two or more falls in the last year. Do you have medical problems that contribute to your dizziness or falls? (Cancer, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s?) If you have had two or more fall over the past year, you have a chronic fall problem. A fall is defined as “any change in body position resulting in contact with the ground or with another lower level” (REF) If you have low blood pressure, you may suddenly feel light-headed. Lightheadedness differs from dizziness in that you may ability to turn your head without vertigo.
Would you like to learn more about physical activity and exercises to improve your strength, balance and walking? There are exercises and physical activities that can improve your ability to decrease dizziness and disequilibrium.
Ask your physical therapist for a one-on-one evaluation, education and an individualized program just for YOU! Improve your quality of life!
5 Top Activities and Exercises to improve your balance and walking and dizziness:
1. Eye-head coordination: turning your head side to side, in sitting focus on a target. Can be done in standing holding a firm surface.
2. Flexibility: daily ankle circles and ankle pumps, hamstring stretches
3. Strength training: 2 to 3 days per week standing toe and heel raises, lifting weights with good form for both arms and legs
4. Balance retraining: standing near a countertop holding with both hands, maintain upright posture feet together for 30 seconds
5. Walking: 30 minutes daily – use a heel toe smooth pattern and take longer steps. Use walking poles for improved confidence.
Every exercise bout, physical activity and walk counts – park a little further away from your destination! All activities are cumulative throughout your day.
If you would like to learn more, contact us for a Free Report and/or a Free One-On-One Discovery Consultation Visit to learn more, contact us today.
ahnewPT@gmail.com or 1-210-833-8336
Reference: PREVENTING FALLS: A Guide to Implementing Effective Community-Based Fall Prevention Programs. CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2nd Edition. 2015.
It’s summer! Get outside and play, walk, engage ~ stay active!
Here are some tips for people of all ages to stay active during the summer months:
First drink plenty of water. Our bodies are 60% water. Hydrate often ~ if you wait until you are thirsty it’s too late.
ENJOY EXERCISE AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Second engage in some form of physical activity daily ~ put down the electronics and move! Activity help us maintain a healthy weight, helps improve mood, decreases pain, improves flexibility, and cardiopulmonary and vascular health. Balance your activity and food intake.
Third use safety measures ~ play it safe by wearing a helmet when bicycling, roller skating, or skate boarding. Wear proper fitting shoes with padded inserts. Walk in safe neighborhoods early when temperatures are lower or walk a mall in cooled air conditioning.
PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Fourth use plenty of sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. Reapply sunscreen frequently, approximately every two hours is recommended. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and bug spray for protection.
Fifth eat nutritious foods! The new food pyramid focuses on 6 oz of Grains, 2 cups of Fruits and 2.5 cups Vegetables, 5.5 oz servings of Protein, 3 cups of Dairy, plus Physical Activity for 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children each and every day. Sixty to 90 minutes of daily physical activity may be needed to prevent weight gain.
For more information go to: ChooseMyPlate.com
GET OUTDOORS and BREATH
Lastly enjoy the fresh air and just keep moving! We need sunlight and weight bearing activities for good bone heath, cardiovascular health, and muscle strength, endurance, power and mental wellbeing.
“A healthy lifestyle for all ages ~ an active life is a happy life!”
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Take Action: Contact Dr. Ann H. Newstead, PT, DPT, PhD 210-833-8336